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Archive for April, 2013

I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Genesis 26 (called “Like Father, Like Son?”). Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: We all face trials, fears, temptations to sin, and frustrations just like Isaac – will we respond in a way that glorifies God?

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Bruce Lockerbie tells this story, which asks to think about what we’re living for and which direction we’re going.

A world-class runner entered a 10-K race in Connecticut. On the day of the race she drove from New York city, following the directions, or so she thought, given over the phone. She got lost, stopped at a gas station, and asked for help. She knew only that the race started in a shopping mall parking lot. The attendant also knew of such a race scheduled just up the road. When she arrived she was relieved to see there weren’t as many runners as she had anticipated.

She hurried to the registration table, announced herself, and was surprised at the race officials’ excitement at having so renowned an athlete show up for their event. No, they had no record of her entry, but if she would hurry and put on this number, she could be in line just before the gun would go off. She ran and won easily – four minutes ahead of the first man! Only after the race did she learn that the race she had run was not the race she had entered earlier. That race was being held several miles further up the road in another town. She had gone to the wrong starting line, run the wrong course, and won a cheap prize.

What are we living for? What are we running after? Are we even running in the right direction? It’s been said that you can run south as fast as you want on a north-bound train, and even make great time, but you’re still running in the wrong direction! Only a life that is lived for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom can be said to be moving in the right direction. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

Run, but as you’re running make sure you’re running in the right direction!

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A mark of conversion is a love for God’s Word, the Bible. Someone who has experienced the grace of God, and has had their heart changed by God, will delight in His Word. On the other hand, an unconverted person is marked by a disdain for the Word of God (which can be done through a number of different avenues – ridicule, mockery, and outright hostility).

Here’s what God Himself says in His Word:

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:2).

Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law
and keep it with all my heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to dishonest gain (Psalm 119:34-36).

I shall delight in Your commandments, which I love (Psalm 119:47).

If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction (Psalm 119:92).

O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day (Psalm 119:97).

The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments (Psalm 119:130-131).

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man (Romans 7:22).

There are two ways to increase our delight in God’s Word. First, pray for it. Ask God to give you a delight for His Word along with a hunger and thirst for it. Second, practice “Bible intake,” as it’s called. Read it, hear it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, and apply it.

Lord, may we delight in Your Word in order that we may delight in You. For  Your glory and our good, through Jesus Christ, amen.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Genesis 26 called “Dying, Fighting, and Cheating.” Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Three questions are asked of us in this chapter — Will you die satisfied with life? Will you trust God when you cannot trace His hand? Will you trade your birthright for a bowl of stew?

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The Greatness of America

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. (Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805-1859)

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Dennis Prager began a recent column by writing:

I offer the single most politically incorrect statement in modern America – indeed a modern Westerner, period – can make: I first look to the Bible for moral guidance and wisdom.

I say this even though I am not a Christian (I am a Jew, and a non-Orthodox one at that). And I say this even though I attended an Ivy League graduate school (Columbia), where I learned nothing about the Bible there except that it was irrelevant, outdated, and frequently immoral.

I say this because there is nothing – not any religious or secular body of work – that comes close to the Bible in forming the moral bases of Western civilization and therefore of nearly all moral progress in the world.

He later asks this important question: “If not from the Bible, from where should people get their values?” The answer most often heard is, “From my heart.” Prager then explains why this is so dangerous. It’s a good read, a good conversation-starter, and something worth thinking about. You can read it here.

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on Genesis 24 called “Here Comes the Bride.” Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: In His providence, God provided a bride for Isaac in order to fulfill His covenant promises to Abraham and his descendants.

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